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Still life of fruit and a pie on a table

The Royal Collection has a stunning collection of seventeenth century Dutch art

Meyndert Hobbema (Amsterdam 1638-Amsterdam 1709)

Wooded Landscape with Travellers and Beggars on a Road 1668

Oil on panel | 60.4 x 84.4 cm | RCIN 405210

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Born in 1638, Hobbema lived his entire life in Amsterdam. By 1660, he was ‘serving and studying’ with Jacob van Ruisdael. In contrast to Ruisdael’s solemn scenes, an element of storytelling animates Hobbema’s landscapes.

The subject here is one of contrasts: the darkness of the right foreground gives way to bright sunshine beyond; the wildness of the trees is tempered by the homeliness of the houses nestling amongst them. The figure group shows a similarly contrasted encounter between two richly clad riders and two roadside beggars. Just to the right of centre, two further figures, accompanied by a dog, pause to look through the trees to the area of golden light beyond. The figures, although small, are included for the specific function of directing the viewer’s eye through the landscape. It has been suggested that they were painted by Adriaen van de Velde, who was often engaged to add figures to the landscapes of his contemporaries, including those of Hobbema and Ruisdael.